Esther The last Grimsby Sail Trawler

Esther's Return Home

Esther in the middle 1990's

In 1992 Esther returned to her home port after an absence of nearly a century and for a brief time she took on the appearance of her former self as attempts were made to deck her out in her original livery.

This was and would always be just window dressing for without a proper job and an income she would always only ever be a drain on resources for her owners and as such she never received the care needed to keep her in good condition.

Eventually the inevitable happened and in August 2012, 124 years and 3 months and barely hundred yards from where she first entered the water, she floundered at her moorings. In the picture below is Esther sunk as she is, and in the background you can see a lamp post that marks where she was launched in 1888.

esther sunk
Esther as she is now in 2013

Today Esther still lies at the bottom of the Alexandria Dock a pale shadow of her former self. But amid the scene of despair all is not lost.

Esther is a wooden ship. As such she is a low tech construction requiring nothing more than brute force and determination to restore her to her former glory.

She was built in a time when the only skills needed to build wooden sailing ships were simple hand tools, hard graft, and experience of hand and eye to lay down her lines.

As she still has her lines, and the tools are readily available all she needs now is the hard graft, commitment determination to release her from her watery tomb.

The objective of this web page is to raise awareness of Esther's plight. Many think she is a lost cause. Many think it is a shame that nothing is being done. There are a few who are trying to find a way to save her. One thing is for sure. Esther is made of wood. She is infinitely repairable so if the question is can she be saved then the answer is a simple yes.

If the question is why we should want to save her then the answer lies in how much you value your history. Grimsby was built on the bones of fish landed by these sail trawlers. If it was not for these boats and the men who fished them Grimsby, as it is today, would not exist. Esther is the last of the Grimsby sail trawlers and for that reason alone her value to this town is without question.

Nothing speaks for this town more than the fishing industry and nothing speaks louder about that industry than the sail trawler. A fully restored Esther could continue to speak for Grimsby long into the future as she toured the ports and regattas of our coastal fishing communities reminding the Nation of Grimsby's unique place our countries maritime history.

We live in the here and now and as such the need to feed our families and put a roof over our heads is the always going to be at the top of the agenda but if that is to be our only concern then we may as well just be as cabbages in a field paying little regard to what has been or what is to come. The here and now is nothing but a thin membrane by which the past and future meet. The present knowledge of all mankind exists on this thin membrane and anything we, in the here and now, allow to slip from our grasp will be denied to the future.

Of course you can't take everything with you. Hard economic reality is a factor. Steam trains, old war time aircraft, things in museums all have their costs but they can also generate income. The rarer something is the more important it becomes. Esther is one of only a hand full of boats left from that era and as such she does have a value not only in historic terms but also potentially in monetary terms so it could make economic sense to save her if it is possible to raise the funds for her restoration.

At the end of the day nothing is going to happen without the support of the people of Grimsby. Esther is currently owned by the Grimsby Council and as such it is owned by the Grimsby ratepayer so you already have a stake in her. If you think you can help to bring her back to her former glory and you wish to contribute to the restoration of Esther please do get in touch by clicking here and emailing me with your thoughts and ideas. If you share our views that Esther should be restored then email your local Council representative with a link to this page, and ask them what the future holds for Esther.

The more people who get behind this the better the chance of rescuing Esther for the future. I will try to up date this page as often as I can with any developments or progress so please book mark this page and post a link to who ever you think might be interested in getting involved.

With your help the story and the history of this unique sail trawler hopefully not end here.

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